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When your dog's big, pleading eyes look up at you, is it with old-age wisdom or teenage naiveté? Researchers came up with a new equation to calculate your dog's age in human years.
And the math isn't as simple as multiplying Fido's age by 7, a myth that has already been debunked. The new equation is based on chemical changes to a dog's DNA. "Mammals progress through similar physiological stages during life, from early development to puberty, aging and death," a group of researchers wrote in a new study that hasn't yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Dogs - Humans - Mammals - Changes - Body
But it's unclear if dogs, humans and other mammals also go through the same molecular changes in the body at a similar rate. So the researchers in the new study looked at DNA methylation, the attachment of a group of three hydrogens and one carbon (a methyl group) onto parts of a DNA molecule, which can serve as a sign of aging.
In humans, the rate of DNA methylation tends to increase with age and serves as an "epigenetic clock" or a way to predict a person's age; scientists have previously been able to tell the age of a blood donor by looking at the amount of methylation in their DNA. Similarly, researchers have found that other species, including dogs, also undergo DNA methylation.
Study - Group - DNA - Methylation - Blood
In this new study, the group analyzed the DNA, including its methylation, in blood samples taken from around 100 dogs, mostly Labrador retrievers, from a little over a month old to 16 years old....
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